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Analysis of Google's Motorola Acquisition 311

Posted by Soulskill
from the of-all-the-recent-acquisitions-it-was-definitely-one-of-them dept.
bonch writes "Pundits have been analyzing Google's Motorola acquisition since its announcement. Dan Lyons, formerly known as Fake Steve Jobs, says Google never cared for the Nortel patents, and that they drove the bidding price up intentionally while negotiating to buy Motorola. This idea is questioned by MG Siegler, who believes buying Motorola for $12.5 billion — almost two years' worth of Google's annual profits — is an act of desperation. John Gruber notes that Motorola was threatening to wage a patent war against other Android partners during the time they would have been negotiating with Google, and that Motorola likely forced them into an expensive buyout rather than a patent license agreement. Google may have also been motivated by the fact that Microsoft was reportedly pursuing a Motorola buyout." S&P researchers apparently weren't a fan of the deal.
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Analysis of Google's Motorola Acquisition

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  • He is right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CaptainInnocent (2439004) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:11PM (#37113822)
    Both Apple and Microsoft are already in patent lawsuits with Motorola. Google has tried to get some smartphone patent portfolio for themselves too, but they just burned $12.5 billion on patents that
    1) don't help them at all against Apple and Microsoft
    2) alienates other Android manufacturers

    But there isn't much Google can do. People act weirdly and make mistakes when they're surrounded and desperate. Google made their mistake here.
    • Motorola has enough patents that the lawsuits are going both ways and the outcomes are far from certain. Compare that to other companies like Samsung and HTC that are currently getting trounced in court or have already rolled over.

      Furthermore Motorola was threatening to open up the exact same kind of lawsuits against other Android manufacturers, so at least Google has nipped that one in the bud. Making a big point of that should help a lot with the alienation you think the other Android manufacturers shou
    • or desperate. I think Google decided it's time to do battle. It's easy to sue the little guys. But when your the size of Google, it becomes MUCH riskier. They can drag Apple, Oracle and M$ on for years in court. This is not what those three want. A lot of FUD is being displayed, trying to show this as desperation. But I think Google got tired of them picking on the manufacturers of the Droid phones. If Google did nothing, the three would drive away all Droid phones. That in turn would cut into Goog
      • by postbigbang (761081) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:36PM (#37114026)

        I don't think they paid that much $$ to become a Droid maker-- there are many less expensive ones to deal with. But it does put a red flag in front of Microsoft.

        It's a game of chicken, where Google says, ok, lay off my pals that are making Android phones, or you have to sue, us, too-- and you don't REALLY want to do that, do you?

        Moto can have flat revenues for the next decade but at a half-million new Androids registered a DAY, Google won't care. Apple knows that once you get users, they hate to leave and have to learn something new, get new contracts, and so forth. So unlike the junk they sold before, telcos get much more customer "glue" with affinity-based purchases based on operating system preference, and they know Apple and they know Android, and to a lesser extent, RIM and WebOS/Palm/HP. Windows? I guess we find out next month.

        • by fidget42 (538823)
          If you were HTC or Samsung, how comfortable would you be in using the OS of your competitor? Would you REALLY believe Google when they said that they won't give Moto preferential treatment?
          • I'm the wrong person to ask.

            Yet HTC isn't scared of Samsung, who isn't scared of LG, who isn't scared of Moto, who isn't scared of the rest of them. They're hardware guys, not software guys. When hardware guys become software guys, you get Nokia, who surrendered. Each of these, except Moto, will take on Windows Mobile when it comes out in its next incarnation. So will Sony, Sharp, or whomever is left in smartphone manufacturing. They'll sell based on small incremental market advantages, just as they do now.

          • Microsoft has Nokia in its pocket, Apple has .. itself, what OS do you suppose Samsung et al are going to use? HP's WebOS?

            The problem is, the SMART phone OS market is limited. I wouldn't trust MS, and their current WP7 is barely alive and only by the might of Microsoft to keep it there.

            The choice is get into bed with MS, get into bed with Google. Google has a much better track record.

            • Google could *easily* address these types of concerns by turning Android into a true open source platform. Open up the development and release process to the community, rather than simply throwing months-old code drops over the wall.
            • what OS do you suppose Samsung et al are going to use?

              Bada [wikipedia.org], MeeGo [wikipedia.org].

            • by EETech1 (1179269)

              Microsoft had a very good track record of giving me some pretty nice Windows Mobile phones over the last 7 years that gave me the feeling that I had a little computer in my pocket that could do some amazing things. It was built to showcase the evolution of mobile technology. It was the foundation that got the mobile hardware (and interface to the rest of the Microsoft PC world) to the point where others could step in, and have very capable devices, and infrastructure that they could leverage to make some in

          • by djlowe (41723) *

            If you were HTC or Samsung, how comfortable would you be in using the OS of your competitor? Would you REALLY believe Google when they said that they won't give Moto preferential treatment?

            And, what's their alternative? They can't license iOS from Apple, for obvious reasons. They can license Windows Mobile from Microsoft.. or they can roll their own, new, OS, with all of the costs that that entails

            Like it or not, Android is, at this point, their best choice, regardless, against Apple, at least, and I think

          • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob.hotmail@com> on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @12:04AM (#37115270) Journal

            If you were HTC or Samsung, how comfortable would you be in using the OS of your competitor?

            If you were Apple, how comfortable would you be using touchscreens, memory and other hardware from your competitor?

        • But I am unsure about the game of chicken. I have a strange feeling that Google is ready to take them on. I wouldn't be surprised of they got aggressive and took the battle directly to Apple, M$, and Oracle. Since they already are in a battle with oracle, we will have to wait and see what is left of oracles patents after all of the reviews. Most of Oracles patent claims have been shot down already. They are still being reviewed, and the court case is starting to drag on. Not sure Apple or M$ would rea
          • Pride is a human emotion. These are not humans, they're profit making entities, and so they will stand in a game that lawyers play. Google upped the ante. There's a war on, certainly, but now Google can make Microsoft tip their hand. Apple will go at them with actual patents. Deals will be done. John and Jane Citizen and their children will be safe from the smartphone and tablet kerfuffle.

        • by msobkow (48369)

          I honestly don't care what the "real" reasons are behind the acquisition. I think it's a good change to the patent landscape for Google and everyone else involved. Android needs a real patent portfolio to trade off against if it's to be a serious long-term contender.

          I think the Nortel patents were "Plan A." Motorola is "Plan B." There's probably plans C, D, and E as well.

          • And other smartphone makers might be up for grabs, too. We haven't heard from the cowboys at HP yet. I'm sure they're just waiting for the dust to settle.

        • by Luckyo (1726890)

          No red flags for microsoft there really. It has nokia as its bitch thanks to Elop, and unlike google, it paid something in line of 1/16 of the price that google ended up footing for MMI.

        • It's a game of chicken, where Google says, ok, lay off my pals that are making Android phones, or you have to sue, us, too-- and you don't REALLY want to do that, do you?

          Why on earth would anyone be forced to sue Google if they didn't want to?

    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      To me it looks like Google, is trying to force Apple and Microsoft into the corporate patent version of MAD (mutually assured destruction) with their acquisition of Motorola.
      • Bingo!
        Google is looking to buy enough patents to get a 3-way cross license out of the deal. Then Android becomes a "real boy".

        • Isn't Android already the man of the house? I mean, WP7 it the beaten wife, iOS is the angst androginous 16 yo and BB the centered but always-away-in-business grown up sister. Did I miss someone? Palm? Nokia? They are that forgotten schizophrenic uncle, nobody cares.

          There you go, a happy family w/ lots of spin-off potential.

    • Why wouldn't the patents help against MS/Apple?

      I could see the argument that they wouldnt help vs Oracle, but not against MS/Apple?

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      This isn't desperation. There are a lot of things behind this. I love how you look at this from an immediate perspective. Think of the fact that acquisitions don't happen overnight.

      Then, don't think that this is just about patents, and don't be so shortsighted to assume that this is just the "cellphone" arm of the company. This is a large part of motorola's split, not just "cellphones".

      There is plenty google can do, and this wasn't a mistake. It was pretty clear they got their competition to spend $4.5B on

    • by andydread (758754)
      You have the Apple/Microsoft talking points down pat. And like a good drone you are disseminating them beautifully keep it up.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:55PM (#37114192)

      Both Apple and Microsoft are already in patent lawsuits with Motorola. Google has tried to get some smartphone patent portfolio for themselves too, but they just burned $12.5 billion on patents that

      1) don't help them at all against Apple and Microsoft

      2) alienates other Android manufacturers

      But there isn't much Google can do. People act weirdly and make mistakes when they're surrounded and desperate. Google made their mistake here.

      Here is one for left field ... suppose Google creates a community cross-license (CCL) pool for Android, similar to the CCL pool for WebM.

      http://www.webm-ccl.org/

      Most of the 31 Android manufacturers join the new Android CCL pool, and chip in their own patents as well, so that all members of the pool get a zero-cost license to use all of the patents in the pool. Non-members still have to pay license fees.

      It becomes possible for members of the Android CCL pool to build an Android mobile device completely covered by patents for zero license cost. Meanwhile, makers of iOS or WP7 devices still have to pay license fees.

      Makers of Android devices can produce mobile devices at much lower costs while still protected by a large patent pool for which they are licensed.

      Patent war against Android evaporates. Android is far cheaper for consumers than WP7 or iOS, Android wins, as do consumers. Massive PR win for Google. WP7 and eventually iOS devices effectively disappear. All Android mobiles can render WebM video. Google reaps in heaps of cash, even while collecting zero royalties.

  • by NNKK (218503) <nknight@runawaynet.com> on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:19PM (#37113882) Homepage

    Someone is confused by math and/or the word "almost".

    MMI has billions in cash and equivalents on hand, and no debt. Google is effectively paying an amount roughly equal to their 2010 profits.

    • by symbolset (646467) * on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @09:50PM (#37114556) Journal

      They're on a roll. Don't distract them with facts.

      The fact that Google is buying Motorola Mobility is interesting itself of course, but the reportage is interesting too. It's getting a ton of press [google.com], almost all of it gloom and doom. BusinessInsider goes on about some of the major properties [businessinsider.com] in the deal, but misses some major ones like factories around the world, an ARM Architectural license, and other things.

      I don't think this is a bad deal for anybody involved. Sure, MMI isn't an earnings star right now - but they just finished a painful reorg and are on track to do very well now that it's over. Even at their worst they weren't burning WP7 marketing kinds of money. Their share has been declining, but they still have more of the market than WP7 does. Google gets some more patents for their growing defensive arsenal, which means the rest of us get to keep getting ever-better shiny Android widgets. Google's Android partners get a tough defender - and now it looks likely they'll be able to assemble a patent pool terrifying in extent. Moto might even stop with that Blur and locked bootloader nonsense. Moto doesn't get carved up and eaten by another phone vendor. The US factories don't close. There's lots to be happy about.

      As you note, it's barely a dent for google. Google will make almost as much income in the time it takes for the deal to close, or half as much at least. People were already complaining Google was hoarding cash [google.com]. MMI will probably spin off some money too.

      So why the panic? I suppose it's disruptive. On Friday a lot of folks thought they had a plan to kill Android. Now they're going to have to go back to the drawing board. People don't like too much change.

      • by Karlt1 (231423)

        As you note, it's barely a dent for google. Google will make almost as much income in the time it takes for the deal to close, or half as much at least.

        Google paid a net $9 billion for MMI (12 billion - 3 billion in cash)

        Google only made 8.5 billion last year.
        http://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:GOOG&fstype=ii [google.com]

        • What's the point of saving your pennies if you can't buy cool stuff when it's on sale?
    • by jamrock (863246) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @12:00AM (#37115256)

      Google is effectively paying an amount roughly equal to their 2010 profits.

      I'm sorry, but what are you talking about? Google agreed to pay $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility. Google's 2010 net income was $8.5 billion. Unlike you I didn't pull that figure out of my ass. That's according to Google's own financial statement [google.com].

      According to the same statement their 2009 net income was $6.5 billion, so they paid nearly two years profit for MMI. Coupled with the facts that the $12.5 billion price represent a 60% premium over MMI's share price, and that Google agreed to pay a penalty of $2.5 billion if the deal falls through for whatever reason, this certainly smacks of desperation on Google's part.

      And the deal could very well fall through. It's still subject to regulatory approval, and with Google being investigated worldwide, this is certain to ratchet up the scrutiny. And then there's good ol' Microsoft. What if they decided to play spoiler and offer more for MMI? I certainly wouldn't put it past them.

      • by jamrock (863246) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @12:15AM (#37115358)
        I was going to finish by saying that I have to agree with Gruber on this one. While Google was in active negotiations with Motorola, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha, and their largest shareholder, Carl Icahn, were making public statements about attacking other handset manufacturers with their patent portfolio, as well as the possibility of licensing Windows Phone 7. The timing of the statements can't have been a coincidence, and I'd be wiling to bet that they were designed to pressure Google at the bargaining table. The deal so generously favors Motorola that it sounds to me as if the terms were dictated by them. I think Motorola was in the driver's seat the entire way.
    • Someone is confused by math and/or the word "almost".

      MMI has billions in cash and equivalents on hand, and no debt[citation needed]. Google is effectively paying an amount roughly equal to their 2010 profits.

  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:21PM (#37113892)

    ...and not focusing on the huge footprint Motorola has in the cable set-top box market.

    Will consumers be watching videos on their computers, or surfing the Web on their TVs more in years to come? By buying the Motorola hardware, Google doesn't have to guess, their bets are hedged: They are ensured of continued revenue selling your surfing/viewing preferences to advertisers and the NSA no matter how the "connected TV" market shakes down.

    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      The STB business has the cable companies as their sole clients. How does that help them sell to consumers to bypass the cable companies?

      • by Co0Ps (1539395)
        Because they have the boxes?
      • and the cable companies have a lot of control and they are slow to update software any ways. On comcast new software takes a long time to roll out or it dies in the test market.

        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          up until now STB's have been mostly coded by folks who couldn't code their way out of a wet paper bag, just look at scientific atlanta junk which regularly incorrectly estimated storage usage, and not on a few percent, by multiples. long after HD digital cable came out their machines still estimated available free space assuming all stored programs were SD programs by summing their runtimes rather than looking at file system usage and or data rates. they also fail to cache channel guide data and have to r
          • by SomePgmr (2021234)
            I think SA has been a Cisco company for years now. They write crap systems because they can. It's not like you're going to go buy someone else's cable box.
    • Not Motorola (Score:3, Informative)

      Google is purchasing Motorola Mobility. [wikipedia.org]
    • Motorola spun off Motorola Mobility earlier this year, an that's the company that Google bought. That's not the same company that's making Motorola branded set-top boxes or any of the other electronic products that aren't related mobile phones.

      • by Ykant (318168)

        Sorry, you are mistaken. Have a look [motorola.com]. Since the split, Mobility is responsible for all of the consumer electronics.

  • A hardcore supporter of SCOX when they were attacking Novell over linux. So... why listen to him? Not like there's a dearth of pundits.

    • by andydread (758754)
      Just have to mention Laura DiDio, Rob Enderle, Maureen O'Gara , Florian Mueller, There is a common connection that links these people and I wonder what entity that may be.
    • I was wondering when someone would point this out.

      This fact does not take away from the MMI deal in any way, it only shows that this guy smells blood in the water and takes it to extremes. I certainly doubt the attractiveness of the Motorola patent portfolio is what Lyons claims, but do believe this is a shrewd move on Google's part and one that is going to pay dividends.

  • Moto better make some money for them or that crazy price and the drag on earnings will kill the stock and drive talent to some new startup

  • by VisibleSchlong (2422274) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:24PM (#37113922)

    Let's just sum up just how hard Google outplayed Apple and Google with Motorola Mobility acquisition:

    * Feigned interest in the Nortel patent with joke bids

    * Apple and Microsoft fell for the bait and overpayed for Nortel's patents

    * Meanwhile Google is off negotiating with Motorola for the purchase of their mobile/settop box/IPTV division

    * Apple and Microsoft and their proxies are plastering the Net with justification for using patents as a weapon against the Android Juggernaut

    * Google drops the Motorola Mobility purchase bomb

    * Google now owns the largest mobile patent war chest with some 17,000 patents and and additional 7,500 pending

    * Apple and Microsoft have now made the case for Google to go after their each of their products without mercy with their newly acquired massive patent war chest

    An Epic Win for Google.

    Motorola Mobile has some 3 billion in cash, so the actual purchase price is around 9.5 billion for Google. The price per patent is an absolute steal compared to the money Apple and Microsoft were tricked into spending for the less valuable Nortel patents.

    And for a cherry on top of this epic win for Google, they get Motorola's set top box and IPTV products and capabilities as a bonus.

    You can tell just how major this win for Google is by just how desperate the spin from the Apple and Microsoft proxies in the press are pumping out.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Begun, this patent war has.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @02:09AM (#37115916)

      You do not "fein interest" in something by bidding a few billion dollars. What if they had won? Very obviously they meant to get that, or at least it was a serious attempt.

      Apple and Microsoft got a huge patent bundle for far less than Google, which they can now use to defend against Motorola patents Google has acquired, so in fact Apple and Microsoft (and other partners) have been shown to be eerily prescient in requiring said patents even IF this had been Google's plan all along.

      And speaking of "overpaying" - Motorola has been losing money. It's not like Google has ONLY paid 12 billion dollars, they have bought continuing obligations that will cost more. And in case you hadn't noticed, 12 billion is a HUGE sum, far more than Microsoft and Apple shelled out individually - how can you say in one breath that those companies overpaid when Google bought the same commodity (patents) for a far steeper price?

      I mean yes Google can use these patents against Apple/Microsoft but I question if the Motorola patent base has the same level of quality as what Microsoft/Apple had individually, never mind the Nortel stuff. Sure Google can go after them but all Google has really bought into is a very expensive draw, at best.

      Which points to the real reason Google purchased Motorola - they needed at least a draw, and were willing to pay ANY price to get it. Which they did, because even though the people at Motorola could no longer design phones they sure could suss out a desperate buyer and take advantage of that...

      In the end I question if it's a victory at all, for anyone. Because now Android HAS to start making Google some serious money in a way it did not before. Are you sure you wish to cheer the Android division becoming indebted to Google to the tune of 12 billion dollars and the subsequent changes that will occur as a result?

      • by Xest (935314)

        "You do not "fein interest" in something by bidding a few billion dollars. What if they had won? Very obviously they meant to get that, or at least it was a serious attempt."

        If you want it, you also don't turn down an option of joining the consortium most likely to be able to purchase it either.

        "so in fact Apple and Microsoft (and other partners) have been shown to be eerily prescient in requiring said patents even IF this had been Google's plan all along."

        Or it could be because Apple has already been burnt

    • by rbarreira (836272)

      The price per patent is an absolute steal compared to the money Apple and Microsoft were tricked into spending for the less valuable Nortel patents.

      Do you have any article supporting the claim that Motorola's patents are more valuable than Nortel's? I'm not doubting you, just want to know more about it.

    • by bonch (38532) *

      You're just parroting Dan Lyons' discredited theory of events.

      * Feigned interest in the Nortel patent with joke bids

      Google fans keep claiming that they "faked" a $4.5 billion bid for the Nortel patents, but if you actually read the links in the submission, sources at Google told journalists that Google was very interested in the Nortel patents and didn't expect for others to team up against them.

      * Apple and Microsoft fell for the bait and overpayed for Nortel's patents

      Apple and Microsoft didn't overpay. Goo

  • Hardware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:24PM (#37113928)
    While patents are part of the deal, I can see a greater emphasis in Google branching out into hardware and making their own phones in a larger scale. Lets face it, hardware manufacturers and carriers ruin the Android experience in a lot of cases, by expanding into hardware, Google can do what Apple does and create hardware and software that "just works".
    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      But how does this help expand Android? They can make Motorola a higher margin player, but they lose the market share that gives Android relevance by alienating their other suppliers.

      • Re:Hardware (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:43PM (#37114098)
        Because, lets be perfectly honest for a moment, there is no Android phone that comes to the simplicity and ease of use as an iPhone. Now, while I prefer Android to an iPhone, it is because of the interesting, geeky things you can do with Android that you can't do with an iPhone (emulators, other app stores, no need to use iTunes, can use an SD card and get as much memory as you want, better multitasking, etc.). But when it comes to ease of use, the iPhone has Android beat in every way.

        For example, if I'm trying to tell someone on an iPhone how to change settings, its pretty easy, hit the settings button, then go to X then go to Y then hit Z. With Android it is a mess, the settings that worked with 1.6 are different than with 2.2 and then what works on an HTC with sense is different than a phone running stock Android which is different than a Samsung with TouchWiz which is different than MotoBlur.

        Not to mention that depending on the carrier, updates either happen delayed or not at all. For example, the exact same internals of a phone running on T-Mobile might get updated in August, while the Sprint counterpart might skip that update, and the AT&T phone might get the update in October.

        All these silly things are keeping Android from being a serious competitor to the iPhone for a lot of people. Rather, Android is just an off-brand iPhone, for use until they can afford an iPhone or their carrier gets it. A mass-marketed Google phone could change that.
        • Re:Hardware (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:53PM (#37114180) Homepage

          > Because, lets be perfectly honest for a moment, there
          > is no Android phone that comes to the simplicity and
          > ease of use as an iPhone.

          Nonsense.

          I bought an Android because it sensibly and robustly handles basic phone features. It also handles basic media with less nonsense. However, that's just an added bonus when compared to the fact that I don't have to "hack the phone" to deal with basic stuff that any Nokia handles better (than Apple).

          Android needs more developers on board and more apps. The core device is fine. Superior to Apple's product even in "non geeky" ways.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          But when it comes to ease of use, the iPhone has Android beat in every way.

          In much the same way that Apple's desktop OS has always had Windows beat in ease-of-use in every way. I've never seen two versions of Control Panel (to use your example) that were the same from version to version, either. Still doesn't get Apple any more than 10% of the market. Lots and lots of people like (pick any one): more flexibility, (including carriers!) more power, or lower price than they do (only) ease-of-use.

          • The difference is that Apple is often unwilling to drop its price down to a level to get a more mainstream audience. For example, this post is typed out on a computer that cost less than $300, and while I'm not going to be doing a ton of gaming on it, it is perfect for browsing websites, watching DVDs, YouTube, etc. On the other hand, last time I checked, Apple's cheapest Mac is about $550, almost double what I paid for my computer.

            I'm sure that if Apple sold cheap enough computers, their marketshare wo
          • by ceoyoyo (59147)

            It gets Apple the top 10% of the market. Which seems to be exactly how they like it.

        • by _4rp4n3t (1617415)

          All these silly things are keeping Android from being a serious competitor to the iPhone

          What world do you live in?

          Techcrunch [techcrunch.com]

          Wired [wired.com]

          Tested [tested.com]

          NetworkWorld [networkworld.com]

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Darkness404 (1287218)
            Yes, but when it comes to what people view Android as, most people view it as a discount iPhone, which is very bad for Android's long term goals. Whenever Apple finally decides to release the iPhone for Sprint and T-Mobile, and eventually make the iPhone (or a previous generation) free on contract, Android's dominance will be over. It's like discount sodas, everyone views Dr. Thunder (or another Dr. X off-brand soda) as an off brand of Dr. Pepper, the moment Dr. Pepper drops its price to that lower of Dr. T
        • Because, lets be perfectly honest for a moment, there is no Android phone that comes to the simplicity and ease of use as an iPhone.

          Yes, lets be honest here.

          90% of people could handle using an Android phone such as a HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy S or Huawei X5. 90.5% of people could use an Iphone. So technically that's correct but the margin is so tiny that it doesn't compensate for the loss in functionality.

          A lot of people who've had Iphones are now switching to Android and loving it, this is why Apple is suing as hard as it can to keep Android products off the market. The minute someone uses an Android product, this myth about the

          • Sure they could "handle" using it, and for day to day tasks it works, but so would -any- phone. The problems with Android is that when they hear of a cool new app their friend got, they either can't find it or can't download it because of silly restrictions put in by the phone carrier or manufacturer. With the iPhone it is pretty simple, you go to the app store, type in a query and it comes up with the app. It is also incredibly easy to see when things are going to get updates and when end of life is. With
      • by Calos (2281322)

        Only if they use the new hardware division to do things others can't - if they play favorites. If they treat all sides the same - give them all the same access to resources, technical info, dev builds, etc. - but the now-Google MMI hardware does it better... Well, that just gives the other players a model to follow. Namely, that they shouldn't think that screwing with the Android UI to have their own unique footprint is necessarily a good thing, especially if it sacrifices optimization and usability.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      As a Nexus One owner, I have to point out that Google's support sucks. There's still significant outsanding bugs that they never bothered to fix. They were fixed by 3rd party firmware and apps, but Google itself hasn't bother to fix any of it.

      • Re:Hardware (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dstar (34869) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @09:19PM (#37114364)

        You know, your post made me wonder if that's perhaps part of the reason they made the purchase.

        Google support sucks, because Google doesn't _have_ a support organization -- and they don't know how to build one, either; it's not something that lends itself to the sort of algorithmical scaling that's their strength.

        MMI, on the other hand, presumably has a support organization that Google can leverage to build a support organization for their other products that need them. They might consider that valuable.

        • by mgblst (80109)

          I'll give you point for coming up with something unique, but it is still silly.

          I am sure they could hire someone to build up support, and spend billions on it for a lot cheaper.

    • by tukang (1209392)
      I think the patents are a ruse. Motorola could have (and probably would have) teamed up with other Android makers to protect Android, anyway. Google could have enticed Motorola to do so for less than $12.5 billion. I also think Google is in it for the handset business and intends to adopt Apple's business model in the mobile area and go head to head with them. With this purchase, Google has become the 2nd largest handset maker by market cap and has deep enough pockets and mobile software know-how to make a
  • I'd say the purchase was really not of much value to anyone. Google doesn't have it in their DNA to do consumer electronics; they are into advertising and SAAS. Motorola's net cost of $7B give or take gives them another lost company with poor direction and too many compromises.

    My only hope is that all this nonsense ultimately leads to patent reform. I can dream...

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      Google doesn't have it in their DNA to do consumer electronics; they are into advertising and SAAS.

      So you're saying that if Google wants to get into consumer electronics, it had better acquire a consumer electronics manufacturer?

  • But Gruber is some mac fanatic spinning wild fabrications. It was clear in the original Slashdot article about his "interpretation" of some PR speak at a conference that he was imagining his own little reality with regards to Motorola's plans. They say something to the effect of "IP is important" and he translated that to "Moto is going all patent RABMO!" (exagerating here but it's not far off).

    Driving the price up for Oracle, RIM, Apple and MS is good business. Google has been known to bid just to driv

  • I guess this means it was a shrewd move on Google's part. S&P helped cause the financial crash by rating sub-prime mortgages as AAA. After S&P downgraded US treasury bills people flocked to them as the safest investment in troubled times.

  • by oakgrove (845019) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @08:37PM (#37114030)
    Wow. A post from this bonch character that paints google in a negative light. Color me surprised. this guy hates the google and android look through his posting history.
  • This could be big. If Google, Samsung, HTC and Sony team up for team Android, their portfolio will be rock solid. Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, etc, will be having a hard time leveraging patent war against them.

    Google could lock out the other partners, but they are all making some great hardware and you know Apple/M$ are scared with all the recent lawsuits. The more Android devices they more revenue is being generated for Google.
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Google and Sony are already part of the patent pool at the Open Invention Network [openinventionnetwork.com] - the patent pool set up to defend linux. So are other heavyweights such as IBM and HP.

      Adding Motorola's patents, many of which are specific to mobile, will protect the core of Android. This is Apple's worst nightmare, since it means that now the shoe is on the other foot - the Android makers have at least as much, if not more, ammo in any patent war, and Android, already with 48% market share, is going to have what amoun

  • Agree with Lyons or Gruber? Ugh. :-)

    Well, looking at it, I think I'll go with Gruber on this one.

    • Well since niether have any actual evidence of their claims, I dont think you have to agree with either. Google may really have wanted the Nortel Patents, but to think they bought Motorola on some threat FROM Motorola, is a little hard to fathom. I do believe the bit about MS bidding for Moto though.

  • If you took a biased view you could probably spin this deal in any direction you wanted.

    There are clear downsides in that this puts Google in direct competition with other manufacturers and it doesn't necessarily guarantee Android will be immune to patent litigation. On the other hand this means Motorola will not be making WP7 devices any time soon and all but ensures the long term future of Android as a relevant platform.

    Whatever the outcome this gives Google the best possible chance to take the comp
  • by DomNF15 (1529309) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @09:33PM (#37114476)
    When I left the GSM Mobile division of Motorola 3 years ago, I would have bet money that the company would fall flat sooner rather than later. My aptly timed departure came only a few months before my entire team was sent home. After riding the Razr wave all the way back to the beach, Moto had no competitive mobile software platform in its R&D pipeline. Even at that time, there were talks of the company spurning its mobile division, which was bleeding cash at an unprecedented rate and dropping market share to Apple, Samsung, and others. At a few dark corners of the office, a privileged group were working on integrating Android on some upcoming VZW handsets. Fast forward a bit, and Motorola finally did split the mobile division off. They were gunning for this outcome for years, I think Google was an inevitable outcome.
    • How healthy is the remaining part of Motorola? Everyone's talking about the part that Google got, but I'm interested in understanding what's left of the company.

  • Motorola has a few billion in cash on hand, the set top portion of the company has been conservatively valued at about $2.5B if sold today so Google effectively paid $6.5B for 24,000 patents, many of which can provide protection against the likes of Apple and Microsoft in the mobile market, and got the entire phone design and manufacturing part of the company for free. There are very few ways Google didn't get a good deal here for the long term and almost all of them involve those 24,000 patents being near

  • People seem to be ignoring this huge point. Motorola Mobility also includes their video hardware division. This is the group that designs, distributes, and supports headend hardware for cable video systems, and the set top cable boxes made to connect to those systems...not just set tops as some have commented. Think encrypted QAM video services from the sat down to the customer. Think VoD servers for storing and streaming digital video content to set tops. Motorola and Cisco (Cisco owns Scientific Atlan
  • S&P researchers apparently weren't a fan of the deal.

    lollll...is that Wall Street lingo for S&P had invested in a different direction?

  • Corporations who hold too much cash will eventually do something foolish with it. Google should have been paying a substantial dividend for years now so that it would not have this much money to waste on a very, very foolish acquisition.

    Google is in the ecosystem business. Eric would never have allowed something like this to go through. He understood that search buttered both sides of Google's bread. Everything else is a sideshow designed to support people being locked into the gravitational pull of Goo

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Google does seem to have become rather distracted by Android, which, after all, doesn't make them any money (except through ads).

      In the meantime, people are starting to notice that they haven't been doing much with their search, and everyone else has caught up.

    • by Compaqt (1758360)

      Uhm ... what?

      The ecosystem: well, that's exactly why they had to make this purchase. They had no choice.

      1. First, they need a mobile story. Let's just take this as an axiom because this segment's going up, and desktop down.

      2. Their story was Android, but it was threatened both by a) Apple and M$ and by b) Motorola's talking about charging for Android.

      3. Buying Motorola solves both 2a and 2b.

      As for starting over: 1) They'd lose time, which is money. 2) It's not just Google, all their partners would have to s

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